Here are more spiritual exercises to help you make summertime into sacred time.


J. Krishnamurti observed in Meditations: "As you watched, a great stillness came into you. The brain itself became very quiet, without any reaction, without a movement, and it was strange to feel this immense stillness. 'Feel' isn't the word. The quality of that silence, that stillness, is not felt by the brain; it is beyond the brain. . . . You are so still that your body becomes completely part of the Earth, part of everything that is still. And as the light breeze came from the hills, stirring the leaves, this stillness, this extraordinary quality of silence, was not disturbed." Find a place where you can experience this kind of stillness.


Find some rocks or pebbles that speak to you on a beach, in a stream, or on a hill. Ask their permission to take them home. Then in a ritual of gratitude toward these gifts, write an evocative spiritual word on each one — grace, peace, hope, beauty, love, etc. Keep these pebbles on your altar, in a table centerpiece, or on your desk. Or carry one in your pocket.

10. FLOAT.

In a poem titled "Avowal," Denise Levertov connects floating in the water with one's face to the sky with the feeling of being held up by the Holy One's all surrounding grace. When you are floating in the ocean, a lake, or the pool, reflect upon how divine support carries you through every day.


In Wild Communion: Experiencing Peace in Nature, Ruth Baetz writes of her walk in a nature preserve: "Everywhere I stroll I say, 'Hello beauty!' or 'You're magnificent, Beauty.' Each time there is a rush of recognition and delight." Put your joy and delight in flowers, trees, streams, and plants into concrete words of praise and commendation.

"I don't think it is enough appreciated how much of an outdoor book the Bible is," Wendell Berry observes in Sex, Economy, Freedom, Community. Think of how many times Jesus taught while outdoors or how often the Psalmists use images of the natural world. Read some of your favorite scripture passages while you are out in nature, and see how the setting enriches the experience.


Summer is the perfect time to take naps. And napping can be a spiritual exercise because it encourages us to trust. Here's how Edward Hays puts it in Pray All Ways.: "The front door of sleep is bodily rest, but where does the back door lead? The back door leads to the Prayer of Napping as an external sacrament of the inner ability to 'let go' of managing every aspect of our lives." So give in to that urge to snooze. Afterwards you may just rejoice with Issa who wrote the following haiku: "Napped half the day; / No one / punished me!"


In a workshop titled "The Spirit of the Earth," Manolb Catina stated: "Look at the colors in the sky at sunset. The day that is fading away is like your inner being that is changing little by little, that has the freedom to transform, to grow. . . . Look into these colors of the sunset and see the being that you are, which is transforming." As you watch a sunset, ponder the shades and contrasts in your life. Say goodbye to those parts of yourself you wish to change or discard as the Sun dips behind the horizon.

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